It’s officially the end of summer but that doesn’t have to mean the end of sunshine and blue skies. While the UK is notorious for its grey and rainy autumns and a winter season that is, more often than not, a let down on the weather front, there are plenty of other destinations around the world that offer that precious winter warmth. No matter what your budget this year, it’s easy to find a winter sun destination to suit you – here are some tips on how to do it:
What kind of sunshine do you want?
This might sound like a silly question but are you looking for guaranteed blue skies and warmth for the entirety of your trip or are you a bit more forgiving of the odd cloudy or rainy day? Inevitably, you’ll need to go further from the UK to get that sunshine locked down but you don’t have to spend a fortune. For that guaranteed sunshine, if you’re on a budget, then Dubai has some great purse-friendly options with temperatures ‘mostly sunny’ and up in the 30s pretty much every day. If you’re looking to splash out and willing to travel a bit further then Barbados has warm sands, warm seas and blue skies pretty much all year round. For those who aren’t necessarily planning to be by the beach 24-7 the Mediterranean remains warmer than the UK but without the same searing heat (or large crowds) as you’ll find in destinations such as Sicily and Ibiza in the summer. Cyprus has the most consistent winter sunshine in this part of the world.
Beach bunny or adventurer?
For many of us, winter sun means finding somewhere that you can stretch out on a sun lounger with a book and turn cold winter skin a nice tanned shade. However, you may not want to spend your entire trip by the beach or the pool so before you choose a destination think about exactly what you want from it. Cape Town, for example, has a steady 10 hours of sunshine a day and attractions such as Table Mountain and a buzzing culinary scene. The Canary Islands are a more traditional option for winter sun for those looking for tanning time – and a great choice for anyone seeking out that unseasonal warmth on a budget.
Winter sun holidays are big business for the travel industry and as the competition for customers increases it’s possible to find some fantastic deals to far-flung destinations. Booking ahead is a good option if you’re able to plan 12 months or more in advance, as most tour operators will offer a sizeable discount for those who commit early. There are also plenty of deals available for those booking at the last minute but it pays to be more flexible if you’re going to take your chances with what’s left. You may not get exactly the hotel you want but you can normally be quite specific about destination and standard of accommodation. As most hotels don’t want empty rooms the discounts can be substantial – upwards of 70% – so this is a great way to get that winter sun luxury destination at a significant discount. Look out, in particular, for last minute discounts to the more expensive locations, such as the Caribbean, Thailand and Australia. But always take care about how you pay for your holiday. Do you really want to take out a loan to do this? And if you already have debts then take particular care as you don’t want to make things worse. Ultimately you can’t run away from your debts!
What about America?
Not often thought of as a traditional winter sun destination, America actually has a lot to offer in terms of warmth. Miami, for example, is a nine-hour flight (closer than the Caribbean and South Africa) and has a wealth of beaches, warm seas and blue skies, as well as cultural hotspots such as the Art Deco district, where you’ll find plenty of New Yorkers escaping the extreme cold of the Big Apple. Las Vegas is another hot spot in the States, both weather-wise and in terms of glamorous appeal. If you’re not particularly interested in the glitz of The Strip or losing all your money in a casino then you can head out of the city and see local sights such as the Grand Canyon instead. California is a state that remains relatively warm most of the year round and is home to cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Palm Springs. Whether your interest lies in celeb spotting in Hollywood, touring the local wineries or hitting the famous surf spots the state has a huge range of different types of holidays on offer – as well as an impressively warm and sunny climate that makes a great alternative to winter in the UK.